Photo credit: Graig Abel
Saturday night, during the Capitals’ 4-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs, future AHL hall-of-famer Keith Aucoin scored his first NHL goal of the season, and his first since October 24, 2009. For those who are counting, that’s 854 days.
“It’s been about two years now, I think, since I last scored a goal,” Aucoin said with a smile to The Washington Times’ Stephen Whyno. “It’s only been 10, 11 games, but it feels like forever, and it was nice to finally get one and help the team win.”
General Manager George McPhee, clearly unimpressed by his feat (or more likely saving cap space ahead of tomorrow’s trade deadline), sent Aucoin back down to Hershey early this morning.
Coiner’s goal was so pretty, it deserves a closer look. Let’s set the scene. After going down 2-0 to the Caps within the first five minutes and then 3-0 by the second period, the Leafs were left scrambling to climb out of a hole. The play starts at 5:13, with the Caps in possession of the puck in their own zone.
Now that I have gotten my feelings on free agency out of my system, I’m ready to take a look at some of the bargain UFAs that may still be available. I mean, does it matter if I think Matthew Lombardi was a decent contract and second line center option while you say The Little Viking, Matty P. and/or Flash can handle the load, since we’ll both be cheering the Caps to a Cup anyway? Together. Like BFFs?
Photo above taken by Phil of Capitals Outsider
It must be hard owning a professional sports team. Every crackpot with an internet connection is either emailing you, posting articles about you, or just simply trashing you in 140 characters or less.
It’s probably harder still to be a General Manager. Talk about loneliness. You get little credit for drafting the superstar everyone knew would pan out, yet take tons of abuse for those trades/signings that just don’t make sense. You even get crap for the moves that you don’t make, even if you told everyone beforehand that you weren’t going to make them. Then some of your precious assets file arbitration and you don’t know what to expect. On the surface it seems that you were shrewd in holding off on the UFA frenzy, but until we see what the arbitration rulings are and which, if any, of the deals you walk away from it’s too soon to tell.
Sure, maybe it was stating the obvious when we said the second-line center the Caps should target is Matthew Lombardi, but it’s more than that. If we look at the numbers, I think he is the ONLY viable option in free agency.
Luckily our first line center is set in stone for the next decade. You may have heard of him; he’s kind of a big deal. But then there is quite a drop off:
First, the Montreal Canadiens signed leading scorer Tomas Plekanec to a six-year, $30 million contract on Tuesday. Then, the San Jose Sharks sign Patrick Marleau to a four-year contract a week before he would have become a free agent. This eliminated the two best (albeit pricey) options the Caps had to fulfill a glaring need: second-line center.
So we panic right? I mean, it’s over, Johnny, right?
Is this Washingtonian photo contest (where my picture “ Taking in the Sights” is in second place and could use some votes) over? Nope. (Mostly because voting ends June 30th. Seriously go vote for me.)
Bet you’re asking, “Then who, hot shot?”
We’ll tell you who.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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